My new love has arrived and I haven’t stopped touching her since she got here. Let me introduce to you… Sofia. Sofia is a Chinese Ethnic Minority, yes she is Black but very accepted in here in China. She is beautiful and I love rubbing my fingers up and down her body. I fell deeply in love with her at first sight. Okay, yes, I am talking about my new Guzheng. See her photo to the left.
I don’t think I have been so excited about an instrument before… well I do love piano and the keyboard.. but there is just something about learning to play an instrument that is more than 2000 years old that makes you feel like you are transported to another realm when you hear it.
For those of you not familiar with the Guzheng or Chinese Zither, it has 21 strings. It can make the sounds of a guitar and a piano by using your fingers in creative ways. It is the very Chinese moody sound you hear when you are listening to slow Chinese traditional music. It is very elegant and sexy instrument. It can mimic the sounds of running water, the wind, the a raging sea, a typhoon, mysterious sounds, a peaceful brook and horses running. The great scholars of Ancient China were supposed to accomplish three forms of art to become reverend by the Emporor. Writing poems and stories, Painting beautiful pictures or writing calligraphy and playing the Guzheng. I can write the stories… a little off on the painting and calligraphy .. but learning the Guzheng gives me two out of three, not bad in this day in age.
Unfortunately, the art of Guzheng playing is dying… young people are not interested and the older generation is more interested in making money. Therefore, few people can still play the Guzheng well. I have some student that said they learned as a child but cannot remember anything now. This is the same with the Urhu, Pipa, and many other traditional Chinese instruments. I was told in VIP class with my very talented young teacher that you have to not only play the notes, you need to feel and breathe the notes. Your Chi has to flow in and out of your body with the music. Sounds beautiful but harder than hell to do in a classroom. So I decided to buy Sofia and bring her home to help me working on my Chi. Which evidently can only flow when you do those crazy arm movements, head movements, and pauses with your hands. That is so others can also feel the music you are playing by watching you. (haven’t mastered that yet)
I have to say I have a lot of respect for people, who play instruments. It takes a lot of hard work and focus to become good at music. Me, being a semi-professional wedding singer, I know how many times I need to practice a song before it sounds good. But I have been singing since I was a child in grade school. However, wrapping your mind around an ancient instrument takes patience. I have began learning a difficult traditional Guzheng song that is common in China. However, there seems to be many versions of it and my teacher has decided to write her own version for me to learn. Basically, the girl is trying to kill me. It seems my brain knows what it needs to do… and my heart is in it.. but my fingers have taken on a mind of their own. They are just not team players.
The fact that I have to wear guitar picks taped to all my fingers on both hands to play this instrument is disturbing. I look like Woverine when he gets pissed on the X-men. I also have to keep my posture… back straight and chest out.. so the Chi can flow….(I am getting sick of this Chi…flow already.. why don’t cha?)
I did learn today in class that my teacher’s teacher was the private teacher to the President of Zimbabwe’s wife, and she flew to Africa just to teacher her to play and now that woman is a phenomenal player one of the best in Africa. I feel very honored to be taught by this woman’s student. There are some Chinese traditions that have bored me and I gave up on …. counter cross stitching, Tai Chi, Chinese traditional dance, MahJong and Beijing Opera… It was just too slow-moving for me… but… this has become a slight obsession for me. (I guess you can tell). I just feel so honored to have to opportunity to learn this in China by an expert Chinese teacher.
I currently take one VIP class a week, and I practice one hour every day. I am learning to play with both hands and I am finally able to understand the barbaric way that the Chinese read music. With numbers, symbols and squiggly lines, they somehow turn it into notes, beats and rhythms.
So I apologize for my shortage of blog postings, I have been a little preoccupied with my girl. But I will make an effort to fit in more blogs. You know sometimes you want to do so many things but life just kind of get in the way. I have so many new friends that want my attention and so many new hobbies that are available to me and so many other things to learn about China that I just want to soak it all up at once. There are just not enough hours in the day for me. I am always learning and experiencing things….. I want to do it all….
The best part is that I have something constructive to keep me occupied while my husband is away in Hong Kong and something to do when I retire in the future. I am sure when I am older.. my Chi would have gotten it together by then.
until next time…
- Guzheng: My New Hobby (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)
- Traditional Chinese instruments played by robots (makezine.com)
- First Club Hoppin’ Night in Hangzhou (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)